Challenging a Will in Louisiana
A will is a legal document outlining how a person’s assets and property will be distributed after death. However, sometimes a person may wish to challenge a will if they believe it is invalid or does not accurately reflect the wishes of the deceased.
There are several grounds for challenging a will in Louisiana, and it is essential to hire an attorney to help navigate the legal process. With over 35 years of experience, Dowden & Smith is here to help you, whether you’re challenging a will in Louisiana or need help with other estate matters. Contact our team today and schedule a free consultation.
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Grounds for Challenging a Will in Louisiana
In order to contest a will, you must have a valid reason for doing so. There are several grounds for challenging a will in Louisiana, including:
Incapacity of the Testator: In Louisiana, persons are presumed to have capacity, particularly if they are over 18 years old. The testator is the person whom the will is for. According to Louisiana law, the testator is considered to have capacity if they understand the nature and extent of their property, know who their heirs are, and are capable of making rational decisions regarding the distribution of their estate.
However, if a person lacks capacity at the time of execution of the will due to medications, illnesses, or other factors, the will may be challenged. Evidence, such as testimony from a medical professional, will be needed to support this claim and presented to the court by the party challenging the will.
Undue Influence: If the testator was unduly influenced when creating the will, it could be challenged. Undue influence occurs when the will of the influencing party outweighs that of the testator. A “mere gratuity” does not equal undue influence, meaning a party receiving an inheritance out of kindness from the testator does not mean there was undue influence.
In Louisiana, the burden of proof for undue influence is on the person challenging the will. They must show that the influencer had a confidential relationship with the testator, that the influencer received a substantial benefit from the will, and that the testator was susceptible to influence.
Form Requirements: Louisiana has strict requirements for the execution of a will. If these requirements are not met, the will may be challenged. For example, if the will is handwritten (olographic), it must be completely written, signed, and dated by the testator. If an attorney is preparing the will, the notary, witness, and testator must be in the same room, and there must be an attestation clause. An attestation clause is a clause at the end of the will stating that the will was signed and witnessed according to state and federal laws.
If you’re considering challenging a will in Louisiana, you can trust the experienced attorneys at Dowden & Smith. Call (337)238-2800 and schedule a free consultation, and we’ll sit down with you and discuss your options.
[Related: Why You Need A Succession Attorney]
Who Can Challenge a Will in Louisiana?
Not everyone has the legal standing to challenge a will in Louisiana. Those who may challenge a will include:
- Beneficiaries named in the will or a previous will
- Heirs who would have inherited if there were no will
- Creditors who are owed money by the deceased
Understanding if you have the legal standing to challenge a will in Louisiana before beginning the process is crucial. Discuss your options with our team today, and get help contesting a will in Louisiana.
Get The Help You Need to Challenge a Will in Louisiana – Hire Dowden & Smith
If you are considering challenging a will in Louisiana, hiring an attorney who is well-versed in Louisiana law is your best option. At Dowden & Smith, we can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
With our team on your side, we will:
- Review the will and determine if there are grounds for challenging it
- Gather evidence to support your claim
- File a petition with the court to challenge the will
- Represent you in court if necessary
Challenging a will in Louisiana can be a complicated process, but it may be necessary if you believe that a will is not valid or does not accurately reflect the testator’s wishes. Contest a will in Louisiana with confidence when you hire an attorney with the experience to help your case – call (337)238-2800 and contact Dowden & Smith today. Our attorneys will work diligently to build your case and give you the best possible outcome.